Although making architectural news today, the atrium house dates serve to the Romans, who found a retreat from hot summers in the central courtyard of their homes to the atrium.
Today’s atrium house differs greatly in many ways from its Roman antecedents. But, like those venerable dwellings, it offers a private garden world to those who dwell in crowded urban and suburban centers.
In all but very warm climates, the fresh atrium is ordinarily roofed and lighted by skylights, clerestory windows, or a plastic bubble. Each of these can provide for ventilation during warm weather, with vents that can be opened when essential.
The atrium need not be placed at the true center of the house. However, it should be positioned so that the main living rooms can section in the delights of a garden that winter cannot touch, a constantly green vista in all the months of the year.
Plants obliging To The Atrium
More than in other forms of indoor gardens, plantings of an atrium should be chosen with due consideration for local climate. In warm regions, you can grow almost anything in an atrium that will grow outdoors. On the other hand, in colder growing zones, the atrium would, in all likelihood, be operated as a cold greenhouse (night temperature in the 50s, day temperatures in the 60s), thus ruling out heat lovers such as the amaryllis, and slowing down growth of house plants preferring warmer house temperatures.
But choices are peaceful astronomical. Such broadleaf evergreens as camellias, azaleas, and gardenias develop satisfactory choices, and all can be kept to neat heights with pruning. Grass is not a fine choice for ground shroud, since it requires mowing. But periwinkle, pachysandra, ajuga, dichondra, ivy, and many others form a green carpet that takes small attention other than watering.
A good-looking, minimum-care, atrium garden is easy to grow if the gardener relies on smaller shrubs and trees (not deciduous varieties, which require a period of icy and dormancy), ground screen, and foliage plants. As with outdoor gardens, it is easy to have splashes of seasonal color with container-grown flowering plants that are easy to assume and replace when period of bloom has ended.
Simplify watering chores a expansive deal by adding a water outlet to which a garden hose can be connected. An atrium garden also needs floor drains for excess water. A path of brick, flagstone, or gravel offers easy access to all of the planted areas.